Back to Index

Socio-Economic Effects Component of TLS Project

 Larry Leistritz

Question 1. What major problem or issue is being resolved and how are you resolving it?

This project addresses three specific objectives outlined in the TEAM Leafy Spurge proposal: (1) assess the economic impact of leafy spurge reduction and range restoration, (2) evaluate costs and benefits of biological control strategies (including grazing) and combinations of biological and chemical control strategies, and develop an economic decision model, and (3) evaluate managerial, institutional, and social factors that may inhibit implementation of various control strategies; develop approaches to enhance implementation; and assess the impact of the demonstration program on attitudes and perceptions of landowners, land managers, and area/local decision-makers.

Question 2. How serious is the problem? Why does it matter?

The annual economic impact of leafy spurge in the four-state area has been estimated at $130 million. The forage lost to leafy spurge infestations could support a herd of about 90,000 cows. The key to effective management of leafy spurge infestations is (a) determining which control strategies are most cost-effective under specific circumstances and (b) facilitating the adoption/implementation of these control practices by ranchers and public land managers.

Question 3. How does it relate to the National Program(s) and National Program Component(s)?

The TEAM Leafy Spurge project is a part of the USDA/ARS Area-Wide Management Program. It is a component of Crop and Commodity Pest Biology, Control and Quarantine (304). TEAM Leafy Spurge complements efforts to develop new and improved pest control technologies and assess component technologies for integrated pest management (IPM) systems.

Question 4. What was your most significant accomplishment this past year?

This project addresses three specific objectives outlined in the TEAM Leafy Spurge proposal: (1) assess the economic impact of leafy spurge reduction and range restoration, (2) evaluate costs and benefits of biological control strategies (including grazing) and combinations of biological and chemical control strategies, and develop an economic decision model, and (3) evaluate managerial, institutional, and social factors that may inhibit implementation of various control strategies; develop approaches to enhance implementation; and assess the impact of the demonstration program on attitudes and perceptions of landowners, land managers, and area/local decision-makers. Surveys of ranchers, local decision makers, and public land managers in the TEAM Leafy Spurge (TLS) study area and adjacent counties have been completed. During FY 2000, the focus was on further dissemination of the findings from the first three years' work, as well as preparing survey instruments for the survey of ranchers, local decision makers, and public land managers to be conducted in FY 2001. The results of this survey will be compared to those from the initial survey effort to measure changes in respondents' attitudes and perceptions, which will provide one measure of the impact of the program.

Question 5. Describe your major accomplishments over the life of the project, including their predicted or actual impact.

Surveys of ranchers, local decision makers, and public land managers in the TEAM Leafy Spurge (TLS) study area and adjacent counties have been completed. The database includes information from 519 ranchers, 105 local decision makers, and 42 public land managers. The survey data provide unique insights (not previously available) concerning managerial, institutional, and social factors that may affect the rate and extent of implementation of various leafy spurge controls. Findings from these surveys have been reported in several departmental research reports and a refereed journal article. An analysis of the benefits and costs of sheep grazing to control leafy spurge has been completed. The results have been published as a departmental report, and a journal article has been submitted. An analysis of the economic feasibility of a sheep cooperative for grazing leafy spurge has been completed. The results were published as a departmental report. Key findings from these studies have been reported at Spurgefest '99, Western North Dakota Sheep Day (held Febr.9, 2000 in Hettinger, ND), MARKETPLACE 2000 (held Jan. 6, 2000, in Bismarck), and at Weed Association meetings. These findings will be further disseminated through professional journals and via presentations to interested groups around the region.

Question 6. What do you expect to accomplish year by year, over the next three years?

Objective 1:
In FY '99 the focus of efforts has been on defining alternative scenarios of leafy spurge reduction/range restoration, as a basis for developing an assessment of economic impacts. The scenarios will be designed to illustrate (1) a "best case" situation illustrating the greatest leafy spurge reduction/range restoration likely to be possible, over a 25-year time horizon, given full implementation of cost-effective practices and (2) one or more less optimistic scenarios reflecting slower implementation of leafy spurge control and range restoration practices. The difference in the economic impacts of the scenarios will reflect the cost to the regional economy of factors inhibiting full implementation. In FY 2000, the economic impacts of the scenarios will be analyzed, and the results reported in a departmental research report. The results will also be reported at state and regional meetings as the opportunity arises. In FY 2001, the results of the economic impact analysis will be formatted into an article for submission to a refereed journal. Dissemination of findings to state and regional meetings will also be a priority in year 5.

Objective 2:
During FY '99, work on the economic decision model has been focused on sheep grazing (mixed species grazing) as a control mechanism. Early in FY 2000 the model will be completed and demonstrated to a cross-section of researchers, land managers, and decision makers. Input from these persons will enable us to refine the model assumptions, as well as making it user-friendly. The model will be designed to provide information on the economics of various treatment alternatives under a variety of situations. The overall structure of the model will allow for comparison of the economics of cultural, biological, and chemical control alternatives based on a given set of treatment variables. The model will be designed to be usable on a wide range of IBM-compatible personal computers. During FY 2001, final documentation will be prepared, and the model will be released for general use.

Objective 3:
During FY'99, the initial survey of ranchers and local decision makers was expanded to include Bowman and Slope Counties in North Dakota and Fallon and Wibaux Counties in Montana. The results were reported in a departmental report. The expanded database should be useful as TLS personnel disseminate project findings outside the initial study counties. Results of the surveys were analyzed together with information obtained from personal and focus group interviews with public land managers and local decision makers in order to better understand impediments to controlling leafy spurge in the Northern Great Plains region. The findings were published in a departmental report. During FY 2000, the focus will be on further dissemination of the findings from the first three years' work, as well as preparing survey instruments for the survey of ranchers, local decision makers, and public land managers to be conducted in FY 2001. During FY 2001, a survey of ranchers, local decision makers, and public land managers will be conducted. The results of this survey will be compared to those from the initial survey effort to measure changes in respondents' attitudes and perceptions, which will provide one measure of the impact of the program. In addition, specific questions will be included to determine the respondents' awareness of the TLS program and specific program activities.

Question 7. What science and/or technologies have been transferred and to whom? When is the science and/or technology likely to become available to the end user (industry, farmer, other scientists)? What are the constraints, if known, to the adoption and durability of the technology?

Results of the surveys, the sheep grazing analysis, and the sheep cooperative feasibility study have been summarized in departmental research reports. A short summary of each major report has been prepared and distributed to TLS participants and other interested parties, as well as to all survey participants who requested a copy. We anticipate using a similar approach to disseminate the findings of other phases of our work.

Question 8. List your most important publications in the popular press (no abstracts) and presentations to non-scientific organizations, and articles written about your work (NOTE: this does not replace your peer-reviewed publications which are listed below).

Publications:

Sell, Randall S., Dan J. Nudell, Dean A. Bangsund, F. Larry Leistritz, and Tim Faller. 2000. Feasibility of a Sheep Cooperative for Grazing Leafy Spurge. Agr. Econ. Rpt. No. 435. Fargo: North Dakota State University, 51 pp.

Sell, Randall S., Dean A. Bangsund, and F. Larry Leistritz. 2000. Impediments to Controlling Leafy Spurge in the Northern Great Plains. Agr. Econ. Misc. Rpt. No. 185. Department of Agricultural Economics, North Dakota State University, Fargo.

Bangsund, Dean A., Dan J. Nudell, Randall S. Sell, and F. Larry Leistritz. 2000. "Economic Analysis of Controlling Leafy Spurge with Sheep," pp. 43-65 in Western North Dakota Sheep Day Proceedings, Hettinger Research Extension Center Report No. 41.

Sell, Randall S., Dan J. Nudell, Dean A. Bangsund, F. Larry Leistritz, and Tim Faller. 2000. "Feasibility of a Sheep Cooperative for Grazing Leafy Spurge," pp. 66-78 in Western North Dakota Sheep Day Proceedings, Hettinger Research Extension Center Report No. 41.

Bangsund, Dean A., Dan Nudell, Randall S. Sell, and F. Larry Leistritz. 1999. Economic Analysis of Controlling Leafy Spurge with Sheep Grazing. Agr. Econ. Rpt. No. 431. Fargo: North Dakota State University, 121 pp.

Presentations:

Bangsund, Dean. 1999. "Economic Analysis of Sheep Grazing for Leafy Spurge Control," presentation for NDSU Fall Extension Conference, Fargo, October.

Sell, Randy, Dan Nudell, and Tim Faller. 2000. "Sheep Cooperatives: A New Business Plan for Spurge Control," presentation for MARKETPLACE 2000, Bismarck, ND, Jan. 6.

Bangsund, Dean. 2000. "Socioeconomic Component of TEAM Leafy Spurge Project/Economics of Controlling Leafy Spurge with Sheep Grazing," presentation for annual meeting of North Dakota Weed Control Association, Jamestown, Jan. 12.

Bangsund, Dean A., F. Larry Leistritz, and Randall S. Sell. 2000. "Assessing the Economic Impact of Noxious Weeds: The Case of Leafy Spurge," paper presented at 53rd Annual Meeting of Society for Range Management, Boise, ID, Febr. 13 - 18.

Sell, Randy, and Dan Nudell. 2000. "Feasibility of a Sheep Cooperative for Grazing Leafy Spurge," presentation for Western North Dakota Sheep Day, Hettinger, Febr. 9.

Bangsund, Dean. 2000. "Economic Analysis of Controlling Leafy Spurge with Sheep Grazing," presentation for Western North Dakota Sheep Day, Hettinger, Febr. 9.

Sell, Randy, Dean Bangsund, and Larry Leistritz. 2000. "Feasibility of Large-scale Sheep Production Co-ops for Leafy Spurge Management," presentation for departmental seminar, Dept. of Agricultural Economics, NDSU, Fargo, Febr. 11. Bangsund, Dean. 2000. "Economic Impact of Leafy Spurge," Leafy Spurge International Information Day, Walhalla, June 27.

Question 9. Scientific publications

Sell, Randall S., Dean A. Bangsund, and F. Larry Leistritz. 1999. "Leafy Spurge (Euphorbia esula L. EPHES): Perceptions by Ranchers and Land Managers." Weed Science 47:740-749.

Bangsund, Dean A., Dan J. Nudell, Randall S. Sell, and F. Larry Leistritz. 2000. "Economic Analysis of Using Sheep to Control Leafy Spurge." Submitted to Journal of Range Management

Back to Index